GCAC Intern Off to Grad School @ School of the Art Institute Chicago!

May 11, 2013

In the words of GCAC intern Ariel Gentalen as she completes her internship and heads to Chicago for grad school…

ariel pic

The first word that comes to mind while reflecting on my year as an intern at Grand Central Art Center is community. It is John Spiak’s unflinching commitment to partnerships and involvement that created a beneficial learning environment to expand my understanding of the inner workings of the art world. I was also fortunate to be working with the supportive and welcoming staff that makes Grand Central such a lovely place to be on a day-to-day basis.

My time at Grand Central began after a last minute, and insane, road trip to Portland, OR to attend Open Engagement 2012 conference. It was ultimately an adventure that developed into one of the most important experiences of my undergraduate career. I say adventure, because CSUF Professor Gretchen Potts drove myself and two other art students 16 hours in a rented Prius, to attend. At the time it didn’t seem like a flawed plan, but upon our arrival, as we sat across from each other at lunch as speechless zombies from exhaustion, we realized flying there might have been easier. After a quick nap, we attended panel discussions focused on integrating social practice into museums, outlining successful education programs in museums and galleries, as well as creating alternative spaces for creativity where established institutions have none. I met and conversed with individuals who were responsible for creating dynamic public programming and working directly with communities. These meetings helped me conclude that this must be my career path, not only to fulfill my own passions, but also to guide others in a similar fashion. Connecting with John at the conference and seeing him speak on the “It Turns our There is Room for Everyone: Museums and Social Practice” panel, I knew that I wanted to work with someone so devoted to the tide of Social Practice art and how it benefits surrounding communities. One week after the conference, I began my GCAC internship.

Over the course of the summer and the following year, I was lucky enough to work with an amazing list of artists in residence, assisting in the realization of projects – from contacting surrounding Santa Ana organizations trying to recruit baseball players for Adam Moser’s MLB project; to sitting on the floor of the AIR apartment with Lisa Bielawa conversing about art and music culture in Orange County; to sharing mouthwatering arepa cooked by current GCAC Project Room exhibiting artist Saskia Jorda. As an Art History major, you spend the majority of your time studying flashcards, reading verbose art theory and attempting to comprehend what the omnipresent art world is – and how you eventually want to fit into it. It is a testament to the power of informal learning experiences – being a fly on the wall during meetings or grant writing discussions –which provided the opportunity for a demystification of what it means to operate in the art world. Grand Central also connected me to Project Access, through an opportunity to produce and run a workshop in partnership with their teen program hosted at Santa Ana Community College. Throughout my year here, there has been nothing but support, whether it comes in the form of pitch meetings for public programming. allowing for time off during grad school application panic, or other on campus leadership duties. It has been a truly rewarding and informative year in how to operate as an advocate of the arts.

Next week, I will be flying (we learned our lesson – no more road trips) out to Portland with fellow student and friend Karla Monterrey to attend Open Engagement once again. It may be painfully cliché, but I embrace the cyclical journey this past year at Grand Central has provided me. I am so excited to be critically engaged for three days of intense art focused discussion, this time with a well-rested and attentive brain. Karla and I are committed to taking and applying all of the conversations at Open Engagement with us to graduate school at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. It is my hope to engage communities the way John and the Grand Central Art Center has done with CSUF and Santa Ana, as well as nurture a future generation of critical citizens.

Ariel Gentalen
CSUF, BA in Art History, Minor in Women’s Studies, ‘13


Adam Moser, Cut-Off Men and MLB Tryout Results!

June 15, 2012

We know you have been waiting to hear results of the Major League Baseball tryouts, part of artist/athlete Adam Moser’s Social Practice residence here at Grand Central Art Center.

It’s been an extremely busy week, so we apologize for the delay.  Here is a breakdown of this week’s activities as they played out for Adam’s team, the Cut-Off Men.  Advance warning, this post is a bit long, but we think it’s worth every moment!

In our last blog post, the jerseys and Adam had arrived at Grand Central Art Center, the Cut-Off Men’s clubhouse and lockers were ready for the team’s arrival, and we were looking for one more teammate to fill out a nine-man roster.

On Sunday, Adam was invited by Cut-Off Men teammates Tori and Abraham to join them for one of their league games taking place at Pacifica High School in Garden Grove.   It was a beautiful Southern California day! Adam got a little time in the outfield and a couple of at bats, while Abraham was covering third and Tori at shortstop.  It was a great warm-up for the tryouts to come.

Monday evening, the team arrived early to meet their fellow teammates for the first time, as well as see their new lockers and jerseys (jerseys created by Victory Custom Athletic – thanks again to Claudette Duggan and the Victory team for helping us get these on such a short notice) before the Dutch Treat Dinner/Ball Signing event.  They brought with them their gear to store in their lockers, in preparation for Tuesday mornings early departure to the tryouts.

The team signed some baseballs for one another to get a little practice in before the public ball signing that evening.  They walked together, as a team, down Broadway to Izalco Salvadorian Cuisine on 5th Street, in Downtown Santa Ana.  Thank you to Fernando Valladares of Izalco for opening his restaurant to our team for this event!  Upon arrival, they were met at the restaurant by fans, friends and family.

At the restaurant, the team signed baseballs, met with their new fans, talked baseball and ate pupusas.  They bonded as a team, shared their thoughts about the next day’s tryouts and told stories of their history with the game.  As the night concluded, we headed back to the clubhouse with some of the teams news fans to share the space and further conversation. Before departing for good night sleeps, they tried on their jerseys on for the first time and we had the opportunity to take a more official first team picture.

Tuesday began early, as the team was scheduled to arrive at 6:45 a.m. to suit-up and catch the team van to the tryouts in Compton.  The team was very focused, prepping their gear, getting into their uniforms.  Our team documentarian/filmmaker and Grand Central Art Center current resident, Mickey Fisher, took the opportunity to interview team members to get their thoughts pre-tryouts.  When the team was ready, we met our van driver Rick and loaded the team van for departure.  We would like to THANK Stacy Wilkerson at Gold Coast Tours for all her assistance in helping us schedule a van on such short notice (as we mentioned previously, we just met Adam for the very first time at the Open Engagement Conference in Portland, OR.  On May 19, 2012, he first told us his idea for the project and we agreed to help him realize it).  Stacy, and our driver Rick, were a true pleasure to work with through this project.   And as it turns out, Rick’s brother is a major league scout for the San Francisco Giants, so we got to talk some baseball during the drive north to Compton.

We arrived at the MLB Urban Youth Academy, where Rick drove us right up to the main entrance with VIP service.  As most other individuals were there solo, you could tell immediately, coming as a team was drawing some attention.  The Cut-Off Men, with their team jerseys and van, created quite the buzz!  We could hear other attendees speculating out loud – “who is this team with such a dominant presence?”  The team listened up as instructions for the beginning of the day were delivered and waiver forms were handed out to over 500 individuals there to tryout.  So, like all the others, the Cut-Off Men filled out their forms and waited for further instructions.  Before things got too crazy, our documentarian/filmmaker Mickey took the opportunity to do a few more interviews with the wonderful backdrop of the ballpark.

Pitchers and catchers were instructed to go to one field, infielders and outfielders instructed to go to another.  For the pitchers, they were divided up by those who had previously played in the majors, those currently playing college ball or had played in the last year; and those who were playing in amateur leagues or hadn’t played recently.   On the opposing field, each position player formed into separate lines to receive their numbers.  Once the numbers were assigned, each position was called over by grouping to run their 60 yard dashes against the clock and one opponent.  The pitchers weren’t required to do the run, but more on their requirements later.

As the running continued, the position players on the team had a chance to warm-up their arms and stretch a bit, before all were told to head to the opposing field.  While the fielders had been running the 60 against the clock, the pitchers were showing their stuff on the mound.  The scouts didn’t tell the attendees directly, but it was clearly over heard from the viewing area –  righties that couldn’t throw at least 95mph weren’t being looked at, and lefties that could hit 88mph and had some movement would be considered.

Meanwhile, the position players were once again divided into outfielders and infielders, with infielders being separated further – second base, shortstop and third basemen in one area; and first basemen in another.  The outfielders were up first. Each was required to field fly balls, line drives and grounders, then give their best attempt to test their arms by throwing those fielded balls to a catcher behind home plate. If the scouts like what they saw on the first three attempts, the players would get a bonus ball.  Our only teammate trying out for outfield was Adam, so all eyes were on him.   As the Grand Central Art Center team looked on, Adam proceeded to make two great catches and charged to field one fast grounder.  He then threw each ball, with a gun of an arm, on a fly, straight into the catchers glove.  In an actual game, each of Adam’s throws would have been the perfect opportunity for the out at home.  So perfect was Adam’s fielding and throws, that he received a bonus ball, which he fielded to the same perfection!  With that complete, Adam was able to relax a bit and take in some of the action.

Next, the opportunity for the infielders to show their stuff.  The Cut-Off Men had the left infield covered, with the majority of the teammates playing shortstop and third base, and one trying out for second base.  Our guys looked great out there, fielding their grounders cleanly, charging those balls rolling fast on the infield grass and gunning their throws to first base.  There was a lot of confidence and pride on the field, and the Cut-Off Men proved they knew their way around a diamond.

After all second, shortstop and third base players had their opportunity to show their stuff, it was time for the first basemen skills to be tested.  As the Cut-Off Men were fielding no first basemen, this meant a little downtime, more bonding, sharing of experiences and lunch for the team.

The break didn’t last that long before all players were summoned to the infield for the announcement of who made the cut.  Of the 500 plus players in attendance, it was made clear at the beginning of the day, “dreams would be crushed.”  They were going to announce 40 numbers, which would be of the players who would move forward to play a simulated game on the field. They also made it clear that, of these 40 players, maybe one or two might be approached by a MLB scout at the event with a possible contract offer.  By the end of the announcement, it was clear that it was not the day for the Cut-Off Men; no one for the team would be making it to the big show.

These are the Cut-Off Men!  They are a team and they stand together with pride!  They were there supporting one another, bonding and talking about finding another nine guys who might be interested in a pick-up game.  They were making plans to play a game together this coming weekend.  They gave it their all and left everything they had on that field.  They were proud and able to hold their heads up high, knowing they had just experienced something together that no one could ever take away.

The team spent a few more hours taking in the remainder of the tryouts, watching young recruits give it their all in the hopes of making the next cut.  They shared stories from their  experiences – “the scout told me I was throwing in the mid-80s, which I could hardly believe I still had in me.  Then he told me I had two things going against me, my age and my velocity.”  Team members talked about the guys that they met throughout the day, those on the field with similar hopes and dreams.  It also provided the opportunity for documentarian/filmmaker Mickey to take some iconic shots to add to his footage.

As the tryouts were wrapping-up, we had an amazing chance encounter.  Yes, it was Major League Baseball scouting legend Phil Pote.  You know, the guy with a cameo in Moneyball that asks “Who’s Fabio?”  He is much more famous than that, as he’s been involved with Major League Baseball for over 50 years!  We struck up a conversation by asking whom he thought from today might make it to the big show, and through his answer he pointed at Adam and Erik and said, “you and you.”  OK, first he said that he doesn’t have a crystal ball and has no idea who might make it, since there are so many factors.  Then he said he could just look at guys and say “you and you”, but there is no guarantee.  He asked about our team name and Adam shared the project, talking about Social Practice and the community team he had built.   Phil was enthusiastic about the project and talked a bit of art with us, then told us how he had been playing in Major League Baseball all these years waiting for his acting career to take off.  He shared his amazing screenplay ideas and asked Adam to send him documentation and writing on the project when it was complete.  He handed us all his business card which has a giant “S” logo and reads: Seattle Mariners, Phil Pote, Advisor – Scout.  He introduced us to Ike Hampton, the Manager of the MLB Urban Youth Academy, who also played in the majors as a catcher for the New York Mets (1974), and later California Angels (1975-79).  If you get the opportunity, we highly recommend a trip out to Compton for a visit to the MLB Urban Youth Academy.   It is an outstanding facility and incredible service to the community!  Adam presented both Phil and Ike with a Cut-Off Men signed ball, before Ike had to get back to business.  Phil spent more time with us, as we proceeded to talk baseball with him for another 30-minutes.  His love and knowledge of the game was contagious, and his desire to keep the respect in the game was truly admirable.  Pete should be in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown!  As we wrapped things up, Phil said good bye by giving each of us a high-low-head-on fist bump, then jumped in his car and drove off.  Rick had arrived with the team van, so  it was time to load everything up and head back to Grand Central Art Center.

Upon arrival back at the team clubhouse, a little surprise was in store.  The team planned it perfectly, with Adam asking GCAC Director/Chief Curator John Spiak if he could see the photo we took with Phil Pote’s again.  As soon as Adam had the phone safe in hand, Abraham proceeded to provide Spiak with the traditional post game/victory drenching.  As there was no Gatorade or water cooler, water in a small trashcan would have to do.

It was time for the post tryout team dinner with family and friends.  We headed over to Memphis at the Santora for a celebration and hearty meal with a southern twist.    The dinner also provided an opportunity to celebrate Cut-Off Men Steven’s 25th birthday.  We sang out loud and shared in the glorious day.

Following dinner, we headed back to the clubhouse for the scheduled 7 p.m. press conference.  There, we met with the team from CTV3, who interviewed Adam.  They then handed the microphone to him so he could conduct interviews with his team.  Adam asked about the days experiences – What had been gained?  What had been learned?  How they were feeling?  The CTV3 team will share the coverage link of the story when it’s online, and we will share it with you!

As the team began to change out of uniforms and wind down their day, visitors entered the clubhouse and inquired about the project, including local Santa Ana CSI police officer and photographer, Leonard Correa.  It was at that moment we were able to shift the sports conversation, one which we had so carefully protected over the past three weeks, to a conversation about art.  We had been sharing the art conversation among the artist, his teammates and the GCAC staff over that same period, but publicly we only talked baseball.  Adam explained the workings of Social Practice, the relationships between the teammates and artist, the relationships between the world of baseball and the world of art.  They understood perfectly and shared their insights.  We had a fantastic exchange that included everyone, then we presented each visitor with an autographed team ball.  It was a perfect way to end such an outstanding experience!

So we know you are now asking, just how does this project relate to the workings of Social Practice?  What are the relationships between the teammates and artist? Are there really relationships between the world of baseball and the world of art?  Ponder that for a few days!  We’ve gone on too long with this post already, so we’ll share it in another entry to be posted soon.

The Cut-Off Men film can now be viewed online at: https://grandcentralartcenter.wordpress.com/2012/07/02/the-cut-off-men-filmdocumentary-now-online-for-viewing/


Jersey Design Complete!

June 1, 2012

The jersey design is complete and fabrication has begun!

A big THANK YOU to Claudette Duggan at Victory Custom Athletic for helping us to realize this vision on such a short timeline.

You may ask, “why such a short timeline?”  We just met Adam two weeks ago at the Open Engagement: Art + Social Practice conference. He made his pitch (pun intended) for the project and we knew immediately it was a project that had to be realized. 

There is still time to join Adam’s team – extended deadline is June 9.  Complete details @ https://grandcentralartcenter.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/dream-of-playing-in-the-major-leagues-mlb-join-gcac-artist-in-residence-adam-moser-and-tryout/

And we’d love to have you join us for the Dutch Treat Dinner / Ball Signing Event on Monday, June 11 @ 7pm.  Complete details can be found @ https://grandcentralartcenter.wordpress.com/2012/06/04/invitation-to-dutch-treat-dinner-ball-signing-june-11-%C2%AD-please-join-us/ 

The Cut-Off Men film can now be viewed online at: https://grandcentralartcenter.wordpress.com/2012/07/02/the-cut-off-men-filmdocumentary-now-online-for-viewing/


Open Engagement, AAM, Social Practice and a Forward Vision @ Grand Central Art Center

May 24, 2012

Social Practice is a major focus of our Forward Vision at Grand Central Art Center (GCAC), so we were honored by an invitation to participate in the Open Engagement conference in Portland, Oregon (May 18-20).  GCAC was represented on two panels by Director/Chief Curator John D. Spiak, which included:

René de Guzman, Dominic Willsdon, John D. Spiak, Stephanie Parrish, Allison Agsten

It Turns Out There Is Room For Everyone: Museums and Social Practice – with panelists Dominic Willsdon (SFMOMA), Allison Agsten (Hammer Museum), René de Guzman (Oakland Museum of California), Stephanie Parrish (Portland Art Museum) and John D. Spiak (Grand Central Art Center). Moderated by Harrell Fletcher (Portland State University).

and

Gregory Sale, John D. Spiak, Pete Brook, Julie Perini

Prison Communities: You Can’t Arrest Your Way to a Solution. Social Practice Engaging the Criminal Justice System – with panelists Gregory Sale, John D. Spiak, Pete Brook, Rachel Marie-Crane Williams and Julie Perini.

Bernie Díaz (Faculty @ SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts), Ariel Gentalen, Karla Monterrey, Shannon Jackson (Director of ARC @ UC Berkeley), Carlin Boyle

We were able to encourage, with the help of GCAC Artist in Residence Jules Rochielle, a few California State University Fullerton students, a faculty and staff member to attend the conference.  Those in attendance included: CSUF students Carlin Boyle, Ariel Gentalen, Karla Monterrey; CSUF faculty member Gretchen Potts; and CSUF staff member Mylan Chacon.  The conference allowed the opportunity for these individuals to connect with national figures of the art world, including artists, theorists, educators and curators.  It was clear that these individuals were truly inspired by the experience.  We are sure this will have a major impact on GCAC and the CSUF College of Art, especially starting next semester, as these individuals are playing key roles on the campus community – Karla leading CSUF Arts Week this coming year; Ariel leading the CSUF Arts Inter-Club Council; and Carlin through her Evoke Unity efforts.

Three weeks ago, Spiak also represented GCAC through two panels at the American Association of Museums Annual Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which included:

Getting into the Bones: Museums, Dance and Social Action – with panelists Gregory Sale (Arizona State University), Robin Conrad (Fullerton College), Elizabeth Johnson (Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts) and John D. Spiak (Grand Central Art Center)

and

Kris Morrissey, Robert Garfinkle, John D. Spiak, Emily F. Zimmern, Thomas M. Finkelpearl

New Roles/New Culture: Tackling Tough Topics and Engaging New Audiences – with panelists Thomas M. Finkelpearl (Queens Museum of Art), Emily F. Zimmern (Levine Museum of the New South), Robert Garfinkle (Science Museum of Minnesota) and John D. Spiak (Grand Central Art Center).  Moderated by Kris Morrissey (Director, Museology Program, University of Washington).

The inspiration and knowledge these conferences provided inform this institution as our Forward Vision document develops and becomes more refined.

The in-progress Forward Vision for Grand Central Art Center focuses on the belief that the key to success in Social Practice Residencies is complete honesty, trust and openness by the institution, curator and artist with all potential collaborators and participants. GCAC is open to exploring, through artistic practice and conversation, the complexities of society – acknowledging that we may raise more questions than perhaps answer.  This institution is open to flexibility and adjustment throughout a project/residency as envisioned by the artist, leaving the opportunity for new discoveries to develop – creating the possibilities for even greater, successful and mutually beneficial outcomes for artist, institution and collaborator.  We use the term “successful” loosely, as we acknowledge that failure of a process also brings knowledge.  These rules should apply to any institution exhibition, program or project, but they are even more essential when working with community and artists through Social Practice residence.  Without an honest approach, trust cannot be secured to build connections with diverse individuals through an artist’s vision.

Shannon Jackson (Open Engagement Keynote)

We also acknowledge the kinds of results that often occur at the conclusion of a residency or Social Practice based project are not always easily measured, in the traditional sense.  For example, attendance figures, tour numbers and budgets may not be the most appropriate measures of “success.”  Unfortunately, these are the most common types of statistics that funders and agencies require in grant reports, usually due immediately upon completion of the project.

GCAC understands that many projects in Social Practice should not, and can not, be limited by a set timeline for completion.  Therefore, it is our goal to provide an artist time needed to realize their vision.  Often the first question asked by individuals when inquiring of our Artist in Residence program is “how long is each residency?”  To this we will answer, “we do not know,” as each will be determined by the artist, their project and their collaborators working through GCAC.  We also understand that even though a project might be considered complete, impact of that project, and even the project itself, may continue beyond the artist and institution.

If It Doesn’t It Should (Open Engagement Panel) – Ted Purves, Harrell Fletcher, Cassandra Thornton

GCAC will look at traditional and standard matrix measurements for each project, but we will also measure, validate and share the success, and/or failure, of each Social Practice Residency through the following:  gathering of personal stories and testimonials (artist, institution, organizations, community); presenting at national conferences (American Association of Museums, College Art Association, Open Engagement); creating web and print based documentation (website, blog, catalogues); writing and publishing articles in national journals (Museum and Social Issues, Art Education, Journal of Art for Life); and direct sharing with colleagues of peer institutions and through society itself.

The Social Practice Artist in Residence is just one component of our institution, but the philosophies of this program will guide GCAC in the further development of Forward Vision documents for our exhibitions, education, public programs and outreach.  Their outcomes will be measured in the same fashion and be accountable to our mission as a contemporary art center.  We will raise questions, allow inquire, be open to opposing view points, be challenged and/or criticized, in the hope of understanding greater society, the role of contemporary art and our shared, or unshared, experiences.  It is important for us as a contemporary art center to acknowledge that we may not be able to change lives or minds, but it is our hope to change moments.


What a Weekend @ Grand Central Art Center!

May 7, 2012

We kicked off this past weekend on Friday, by engaging with Social Practice collaborative artists Owen Driggs, through their Performing Public Space Loitering Project.  Invited as part of Jules Rochielle’s Artist in Residence at GCAC, Janet Owen and Matt Driggs took visiting artists Jules Rochielle, Maria Del Carmen Montoya, Christina Sanchez, Silvia Juliana Mantilla Ortiz, and Cypress College art professor Ed Giardina and his students Brian Yellowshirt McNamara and Luis Munoz-Najar, on a loitering adventure of Downtown Santa Ana.  Owen Driggs and Maria Del Carmen Montoya were exploring the area in preparation of future visits and activities in associating with Rochielle’s GCAC Artist in Residence throughout the summer and fall.

 

Saturday’s activities started with an outstanding talk by author Gustavo Arellano.  He shared with those in attendance the history of Mexican food in the US, through stories from research for his latest book Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America.   Following the talk, Gustavo graciously signed copies of the book for those in attendance.  Thank you to Rueben Martinez of Libreia Martinez Book and Art Gallery for providing the publications for the event.  Thank you as well to Gustavo for allowing us this opportunity – sharing your knowledge and providing engaged insights, all with such humor and grace!

 

It was the monthly First Saturday Art Walk in Downtown Santa Ana, as well as Cinco de Mayo, so that could only mean a joyous night of opening receptions and cultural activities throughout the city.

Grand Central Art Center opened three new exhibitions to a very large and receptive audience.  The artists, curators and GCAC team did the center proud, with top quality exhibitions throughout, so we thank them all for their hard work, passion and talent.

The exhibitions included:

Naida Osline: All the Queen’s Men

 

Millard Sheets Studio: The Art of Home Savings and Loan

Curated by Concepcion Rodriguez and Wendy Sherman

 

Camilla Taylor: The Disagreement

Curated by Yevgeniya Mikhailik

 

Along with Saturday’s three opening receptions, California State University, Fullerton’s student project Evoke Unity engaged with Jules Rocheille’s What is Democracy?, creating an interactive/participatory installation in the GCAC AIR studio space.  Thank you to our outstanding CSUF students for their hard work, dedication and engaged approach to art making.  Many of these students, along with the artists who participated in the loitering of Downtown Santa Ana, will be joining us at the Open Engagement conference in Portland, OR, May 18-20.

 

And what celebration would be complete without some traditional Lucha Libre on the front 2nd Street promenade?  What power, what force, what energy – truly entertaining!

 

Sunday afternoon provided the opportunity for an educated conversation on the work of Millard Sheets and his studio.  The lively and informative panel, Dr. Adam Arenson, Alan Hess, Mike McGee, provide outstanding perspective and historic background to the work of this artist, designer and architect.  They shared their knowledge and research on the importance of the masterful artist and the impact he, along with Howard Ahmanson and Home Savings and Loan, played on the landscape, history and vision of Southern California.

 

And to round out the weekend activities, members of Southern California Artists (SCA) joined GCAC Director/Chief Curator John D. Spiak for an evening of conversation at the center.  The group discussed the current series of exhibitions, the future vision and residency programs of GCAC, and shared views on Social Practice.

Thank you to all that continue to participate and contribute to the programming of Grand Central Art Center, we truly appreciate your support, enthusiasm and insights!


Field Report from Artist in Residence: Jules Rochielle

April 19, 2012

An update about the Grand Central Artist in Residency Project:
In an effort to begin a project that reflected the needs of the community surrounding Grand Central Art Center, the months of March and April have been filled with a range of community building activities. In order to build a strong set of community connections we felt that it was necessary to conduct a number of creative team planning sessions within our own group and also with a variety of community groups located in Santa Ana. As an aspect of this process we have conducted outreach to El Centro, the Orange County May Day Coalition, the Teen Space connected to Santa Ana Public Library, and we also arranged meetings with a variety of community businesses and community members.

What is  “Social Practice Fieldwork”:
The community outreach process used to meet the community has been one of direct outreach and participation. This has included attending and direct participation in community discussion groups, and gender workshops, community bbq’s, May Day planning sessions, and other small meetings that have introduced a variety community members to one another.

We recently also attended the California State University Fullerton 8th Annual Social Justice Summit called Unite to Rise Above Apathy– through this action we ended up meeting and getting connected to a ton of social engaged community groups. And we hope to conduct some follow up meetings with many of the groups we met.

As an aspect of the direct participation in community and our outreach to community we have a also decided to work with community leaders as a volunteer  for skills and time needed to improve a website for the Orange County May Day Coalition. This is a work in progress. This aspect of our engagement with the community in Santa Ana has been completely rewarding.

The Storefront Studio Project:
During April, we participated in the Santa Ana Art Walk– this is the first time  that we activated the A.I.R studio. On the evening of the art walk we invited Silvia Juliana Mantilla Ortiz, to enact and perform Pura Cháchara which is part of  her larger project called Translation Nation.

We also activated our window front and installed our audio stations by opening a storefront studio project called What is Democracy?. This aspect of the residency is a storefront project meant to connect with the communities opinions about the meaning of the word “democracy”. The storefront is open Tuesday through Friday from 4-7pm. We program special events, talks and public gatherings. Recently, Jules Rochielle and Christina Sanchez worked along with the Santa Ana Public Library team consisting of Cheryl Eberly and Zulma Zepeda to hold two young women’s identity discussions circles.

The Writing Component of a Social Art Practice:
The residency opportunity has also provided the opportunity for the artist to complete a number of writing projects. While in residency, Jules Rochielle recently published an article with Public Art Review for Issue 46 • spring / summer 2012— Food for Thought. The writing team consisting of, Jules Rochielle and Janet Owen Driggs recently completed a new piece of writing for a new second commission publication with Proboscis. This piece is currently being published and it will be the second part to the book set called Material Conditions I. This writing team also submitted a text about collaboration and “together work”for a book project that emerged out of last years Congress of Collectives. Jules is also currently producing a set of oral history interviews for the oral history aspect of Unfinished Business, 25 Years of Discourse in Los Angeles,LA Forum for Architecture and Urban Design

Upcoming Activities:
On April 29th, Silvia Juliana Mantilla Ortiz and Jules Rochielle will work with Arts Orange County lead a participatory movement workshop for the Día Del Niño” / Day of the Child. This event will take place at Birch Park in Santa Ana.

On April 30th, we were invited to conduct a set of student interviews about the word Democracy on the university campus of California State University Fullerton.  A big THANK YOU goes out to Bonnie Joy Massey.

May 1: May Day in Santa Ana: Community Story Collection and Protest.  During the busy month of May, we will be working at the individual and community level to directly participate in a variety of events associated with the Orange County May Day Coalition.  We hope to continue to work within the community to produce and capture an audio archive of the events taking place in Santa Ana.

May 2nd- May 5th: We will also be working with the artist Carmen Montoya during this time. We hope to run a set of community art making workshops with Carmen on May 2nd- May 5th. Carmen has been actively engaged with a group known as Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (Northwest Treeplanters and Farmworkers United), is Oregon’s union of farmworkers, nursery, and reforestation workers, and Oregon’s largest Latino organization.We are hoping to garner enough community support to be able to work with Carmen to create a set of powerful  images to take back to the Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste.

May 5th: For the Santa Ana Art Walk:  We are also excited to announce a collaborative effort with a group called Evoke Unity. We will work together to activate the What is Democracy? storefront space and to engage the community. We met this dynamic young group of artists at  California State Fullerton 8th Annual Social Justice Summit called Unite to Rise Above Apathy

Evoke Unity, is a grassroots project developed by undergraduates from the Art Department of the College of the Arts, was created to discuss cultural diversity and identity among today’s students. This installation brings to light that our campus population is made up of students from over 80 nations. Evoke Unity hopes to convey that our success as a university community is due in large measure to these diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

Saturday, May 12th – 3:30 to 5
A big ThankYyou goes out to Bonnie Joy Massey. Thank you for asking us to particpate”
Grand Central Art Center,125 N Broadway.Santa Ana CA 92701
Speakers:”Successes and Failures of Democratic Social Movements in South Africa.”Alan Emery, Assistant Professor of Sociology at CSUF “Reviving the Left.” Steve Jobbit, Assistant Professor of History at CSUF.
Stop by and participate in What is Democracy? an art project developed by artist Jules Rochielle. Record your opinions and your story about the meaning of democracy today.

May 17-May 21: The Open Engagement Conference in Portland Oregon:
Jules Rochielle and the (SPAN)Social Practices Art Network will be part of this years Open Engagement 2012. The residency has allowed time to be made available for some more of the archived interviews to be produced to share through a presentations at Open Engagement. We are also trying to co-write a short essay along with John Spiak for a publication that will emerge out of this convening.

Open Engagement is an international conference that sets out to explore various perspectives on art and social practice and expand the dialogue around socially engaged art making. The Open Engagement conference is an initiative of Portland State University’s Art and Social Practice MFA concentration. Directed and founded by Jen Delos Reyes and planned in conjunction with the Art and Social Practice students, this year’s conference features keynote presenters Tania Bruguera, Shannon Jackson, and Paul Ramirez Jonas. The work by these artists and scholars touch on subjects including politics, economies, education, and representation.

Student Voices at What Is Democracy?


On April 21,2012: Today a group of students gathered for a diversity conference just stopped by to tell a few stories about youth and democracy.http://www.mcnc.us/professional-development/student-leadership-initiative/ —  at What Is Democracy, Grand Central Art Center.

Here is what they said about the word “democracy”

Beyond May…..well we have accomplished this much between March 6th and April 19th. There are many things currently being discussed with various community stakeholders in Santa Ana and we will post again as soon as we gain clarity about future activities.


Jules Rochielle: Portable City Project’s Artist in Residence @ GCAC

March 2, 2012

Jules Rochielle:
Portable City Project’s Artist in Residence
@ Grand Central Art Center
March – May 2012

With artist collaborative partners:
Carmen Montoya
Paige Tighe
Christina Sanchez
“Owen Driggs” – Janet Owen Driggs and Matthew Owen Driggs
Silvia Mantilla Ortiz
Jamie Crooke
Yevgeniya Mikhailik

During this initial phase of Jules Rochielle’s Grand Central Art Center Artist in Residence, the artist will be inviting several other artists to share her residency in order to create a “think tank” that will allow the team much needed time and space for collaborative artistic research. This time spent together creates the potential for the collaborative design of a larger collaborative project.

The creative team will use models of community-based research, public outreach, interviews, community resource mapping and community building to investigate the topics of work, labor, food and immigration. The discoveries made during the research residency will be presented in the form of a web-based archive and this information will be used to launch a larger collaborative project. The group of artists involved in the initial stage of this residency and the creation of this “think tank” will be:

Jules Rochielle
Carmen Montoya
Christina Sanchez
Paige Tighe
Owen Driggs
Silvia Mantilla Ortiz
Jamie Crooke
Yevgeniya Mikhailik

The time and space offered through this residency platform will also allow Jules Rochielle structured editing time to refine her archive of interviews collected through (SPAN) The Social Practice Art Network. These interviews will be transcribed and they will be presented to a broader audience at Open Engagement 2012. During this event, the artist Jules Rochielle will continue to interview the community of socially engaged artists forming at Open Engagement 2012.

Additional Links:

Social Practice Art Network
Open Engagement

About the Collaborators:

Jules Rochielle has held artist residencies at LACE (Los Angeles), Knowles West Media Center, (Bristol UK) and with The Sequoia Parks Foundation, (Visalia, CA). In March 2012, she will be in residency at Grand Central Art Center, Cal State University Fullerton (Santa Ana, Ca). In May 2012 she will present her work at Open Engagement in Portland, Oregon. Recently selected to participate in Creative Times’ Living as Form, the Social Practice Archive. Founder of (SPAN) the Social Practices Art Network, and Portable City Projects and a co-founder of Miscellaneous Productions. Also a consultant that specializes in community arts, community organizing and non-profit sector issues. She has worked with the following groups and organizations: Native Public Media, Public Art Review, Metabolic Studio / Farmlab, Otis College of Art and Design, Freewaves, Access to Media Education Society, Vancouver Moving Theatre/Heart of the City Festival, Full Circle First Nations Performance, Vancouver International Fringe Festival.

Maria del Carmen Montoya is a new media artist working in performance, sculpture and installation. Her studio practice explores the personal, emotional and utterly irrational tendencies of technology. In 2009 she was awarded the prestigious Rhizome Commission for New Media for I Sky You, an installation wherein the quiet of a room is intermittently broken by erratic bursts of chemically synthesized light and electronically generated resonant tones. Her ongoing international collective, Ghana ThinkTank, was shortlisted for the Cartier Award and won the Creative Time Open Door Commission in 2011. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally including SIGGRAPH, PERFORMA, State X New Forms, New Museum Festival of Ideas, ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art, and Visiones Sonoras in Morelia, Mexico where she cofounded an artist residency program for multimedia performance art. She holds a Masters Degree in Digital Media from Rhode Island School of Design.

Christina Sanchez was born in Woodland, a farming town in California’s central valley. In 2002, she completed her undergraduate degree in Studio Art from San Francisco State University. From 2002 to 2010 she worked at a small inner-city private school in Oakland, California. During that time, Christina took on various roles: she taught Kindergarten, mentored teachers, served as Vice Principal, and organized the school’s first art program from the ground up. She now lives in Los Angeles and will receive her Masters in Fine Arts in Public Practice from the Otis College of Art and Design in May 2012.In 2011, Christina initiated the Break/Pausa project as a dialogical investigation into the lives of immigrant restaurant workers living in Los Angeles. In particular, Break/Pausa is aimed at engaging the most hidden and marginalized people of this workforce: Back-of-House workers. Through informal interviews, performative interventions, and partnerships with advocacy organizations, the project seeks to uncover and archive worker histories as well as raise public awareness about pertinent workers rights and quality of life issues.

Tighe Paige is currently exploring the boundaries of public and private meditation with a concentration in disruption. This manifests in her collaborations in postmodern dance with Christine Suarez and the mentoring of Hana von der Kolk. She has danced at MOCA, beaches, the Hammer, public parks, buses, and RedCat. She is a part of Pedestal & the All Girl Band that is a mobile karaoke unit and a public art persona. Her favorite media are dancing and video, sometimes together, sometimes not. She is the inaugural post grad curatorial fellow at the Ben Maltz Gallery under the tutelage of Meg Linton. The artists received her MFA in Public Practice from OTIS College of Art and Design in 2010.

Silvia Mantilla Ortiz is a transnational individual with constantly expanding roots. Her notions of home and belonging continuously swell in order to include the many places where a piece of her being resides; these include Bogotá, Colombia; Edison, NJ; Providencia, Colombia; Williamstown, MA; Giron, Colombia; and now, Los Angeles, CA. The artist received her BA from Williams College, Cum Laude and is currently a MFA Public Practice Candidate at Otis College of Art and Design.

“Owen Driggs” is the collective identity of Matthew Driggs and Janet Owen. Individually experienced artists, educators and curators, Janet and Matthew began their professional collaboration in 2007, after the spectacular success of their first major work, their son Theo. Together, as Owen Driggs, their practice focuses on the production of space and the impact of spatiality on action and discourse.

Janet Owen Driggs is a writer, artist and curator who has exhibited her work internationally, including in the United States, Europe, Scandinavia and Brazil. She has curated exhibitions and screening programs in the United Kingdom, United States, People’s Republic of China and Mexico. A member of the Metabolic Studio team, Janet is the editor of “Not A Cornfield: History/Site/Document”. Her writings have been published most recently in: Artillery, ArtUS, Strawberry Bulletin, The Guardian, and Art Review , in addition to the volumes “How Many Billboards? Art In Stead”, “Hammer Projects 1999-2009”, and “Heike Baranowski – Kolibri”.

Matthew Owen Driggs is an artist, curator and educator, Matthew Owen Driggs lives and works in Los Angeles. Previously Exhibition Designer at the University of Southern California’s Fisher Museum, and a curator at both RAID Projects and Edward Giardiana Contemporary Art, Matthew is currently an adjunct professor at Cypress College. His work has been exhibited at national and international venues including: Kyubidou Gallery, Tokyo, Japan; Vegabond, Palmer, Alaska, USA; MOP (Modes of Production) Sydney, Australia; Cynthia Broan, New York, NY, USA; Laguna Beach Museum of Art, Laguna Beach, CA, USA; and Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Jamie Crooke is an artist working in the discipline of fine arts through project-based artworks that are participatory in nature, which utilize performance, installation art, drawing, social sculpture and event planning as formats for her artwork. She currently has two on-going projects that exist online, through art objects and performative events: Save Yourself and Pulse and Parcel. Her artwork is reflective of value and worth, as seen through her service-based model in many of her projects. Some areas of investigation include the intersection of interior body space and exterior constraints, be it land, policy or social services. Throughout her projects she aims to create cathartic moments of relief and reflection for individuals and the collective through the use of pedagogical models, poetics and public practice.

Yevgeniya Mikhailik was born and raised in Russia and relocated to the US in 2000. She is currently working on her MFA in Illustration at California State University, Long Beach. She has exhibited at the CSULB Art Museum, Gallery Nucleus, Grand Central Art Center, Phone Booth Gallery, The Box, Hibbleton, and the CSULB art galleries. Yevgeniya’s work as been on the pages of local and international publications, online publications and blogs.

Information on the Grand Central Art Center Artist in Residence initiative can be found at:
https://grandcentralartcenter.wordpress.com/artist-in-residence-program/